Top seed, Garbine Muguruza bade farewell to the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo after a 6-2 4-6 6-4 loss to Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina jumped out of the blocks in Friday’s quarter-final, frustrating her higher-ranked opponent with some metronomic defending and swiftness across the baseline.
The unseeded Ukrainian drew error after error from Muguruza as she raced to a 5-0 lead, before eventually taking the opening set 6-2.
Svitolina’s level inevitably dropped in the second set, and her Spanish foe was there to pounce, evening up the match to force a decider.
Both players had chances in the final set, but it was the less fancied Svitolina who held her nerve, breaking in the penultimate game of the contest before serving out another superb win.
This is the second time in just over a month that Svitolina would get the better of a Top 3 opponent, as she had famously straight-setted her way past Serena Williams at the Olympics in August.
The in-form world number 20 will be looking to advance to a second WTA final in three tournaments when she takes on home hope, Naomi Osaka on Saturday.
The other semi-final pitches defending champion, Agnieszka Radwanska against good friend, Caroline Wozniacki.